What Happens If A Chimney Is Dirty

If you have a fireplace in your house, you most probably won’t spend too much time making sure the chimney is clean. Although, your chimney has a crucial role to play in terms of preventing toxic gasses from entering your house but if you do not clean it up, you will find yourself in trouble. So, let’s discuss what happens if a chimney is dirty and why you should get it cleaned from chimney sweep services.

Chimney Fire

One of the biggest risks with a dirty chimney is fire. The reason it is extremely dangerous is that chimney fires spread without any alarms and homeowners come to find out about it when things have turned serious. Surprisingly, most chimney fires break out simply due to homeowners neglecting or ignoring the fact that chimneys do get dirty to the point where the creosote buildup inside can catch fire.

Creosote is a byproduct of combustion. Even if a fire does not break out, you and your family members are still at risk of inhaling carbon monoxide. And being exposed to carbon monoxide can lead to severe health issues. Therefore, to avoid a chimney fire, you should make sure to inspect it regularly if not clean by yourself.

Cleaning a chimney requires special tools and gear. If you do not have them, you most probably won’t be able to thoroughly clean them from the inside. That said, you should hire an expert who can not only clean the chimney but also look for repairs and replacements.

Chimney Back Puffing

If your chimney is too dirty, it is most likely blocked, which could lead to chimney back puffing. Chimney back puffing is when the exit for the toxic gasses is blocked and forced to travel out of the fireplace and into your home instead. As mentioned earlier, this could be a serious issue especially if you have kids and the elderly sensitive to such factors in the house.

The most dangerous factor here is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is both odorless and colorless, which makes it even more lethal. That is why people have their homes burned down simply because they are exposed to the gas for too long and pass out for hours.

So, if you find some residue in your fireplace or smell something smoky in the house, it means the chimney is back puffing. In this case, you will immediately need to put it out and get to cleaning the chimney thoroughly.

Respiratory Problems

With a dirty chimney that has soot buildup, the particles of soot and creosote will spread in the air indoors. This means that the area where your fireplace is located will most likely have polluted air. And if the fireplace is used throughout the day, chances are that the other rooms will turn polluted as well.

This could lead to asthma or other respiratory problems. So, creosote not only results in chimney fires but also damage to your lungs.

Skin/Eye Irritation

If you thought that was all, wait till you hear about what a dirty chimney can do to your eyes and skin. While your lungs are exposed to the toxic particles, what makes you think your skin and eye will be left out?

Keep in mind that the eyes and skin tend to be the most sensitive parts of the body. In the case of a blocked chimney, some people will notice a burning sensation in their eyes and skin. Additionally, your skin could also develop rashes, and you might need medication.

How To Keep Your Chimney Clean?

Keeping your chimney clean is as important as cleaning other kitchen appliances in your house. Depending on the usage frequency, you should clean it at least once or twice a month. If not, hire experts to make sure you follow a maintenance schedule. This will help prevent fires and serious health concerns from taking place in the future.


A dirty chimney can pose a lot of risks. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to keep it clean and unobstructed. So, keep an eye out for any unusual signs or activities that suggest something is wrong, and follow a proper maintenance schedule. Hire chimney cleaning services Upper Marlboro to make sure your chimney is properly cleaned.

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